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Sleep in heavenly peace, if you can

Jeff Ackerman, Publisher
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Silent night, Holy night…

“Christmas in Bethlehem this year, is expected to be a somber affair as it is the first time in eight years that the city is under Israeli military occupation during the festive season…” – channelnewsasia.com



All is calm, all is bright…




“Since the beginning of the Palestinians’ Intifada more than two years ago, Bethlehem has become a battlefield. The town used to be a hub of tourism, but now some areas of Bethlehem resemble a war zone…” – CBN News.

‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child…

“There will not be any Christmas joy this year. This is a house in mourning,” said Suzanne Taljia, the mother of a boy shot to death in front of the Nativity Church last year after Israel occupied the city in response to suicide bombings… – Reuters News Service.

Holy infant so tender and mild…

“This will be the saddest Christmas ever celebrated in Bethlehem. We shall pray for peace, but we won’t celebrate beyond the traditional Christmas procession and mass.” – Nativity Church warden Father Ibrahim Faltas, speaking to the London Dispatch.

Sleep in heavenly peace…

“Bending, I entered the narrow entrance to the grotto and climbed carefully down the uneven steps, worn by the feet of thousands of pilgrims through the centuries, before me. Suddenly, I was alone in front of the manger. The hum of the retreating tour group mingled with the quiet steps of an incoming group. I stood reverently for a moment then knelt to touch the very spot where Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus. Tears welled up. My chest felt tight. I bowed my head in silent prayer.” – a writer for the Anglican Journal, detailing his visit to the purported birthplace of Jesus.

Silent night, Holy night…

“Perforations from gunfire in the fortress-like walls of the 1,700 year-old church have been patched with white plaster…” – Yahoo News.

Shepherds quake at the sight…

“The Christian village of Beit Sahour on Bethlehem’s outskirts – site of the Shepherds’ Field, where biblical tradition says the herders watching their sheep were awestruck by news of the Christ Child’s birth – has been the scene of fierce nighttime battles between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli troops in recent weeks…” – SouthCoast Today.

Glories stream from heaven afar…

“Just days before Christmas, Santa Claus sped around Bethlehem in a BMW sports car, waving a bell out of the window and stopping to give gifts to children before racing off again to beat an Israeli army curfew. – Reuters News Service.

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia…

“We have no life, no work, how can we feel happy inside? We’ll have dinner, just the two of us. We don’t even have a tree. Look, there are no decorations anywhere in Bethlehem, the municipality is broke, and no one is in the mood for celebrating.” – a Bethlehem couple speaking to the London Dispatch.

Christ the Savior is born…

“Christmas means God Himself became the flesh and that this flesh came back to our town – little Bethlehem – and we see the Heavens rejoice and we see the shepherds come to see this good news that a savior is born in Bethlehem.” – a Christian man in Bethlehem.

With the dawn of redeeming grace…

“In Bethlehem, Jesus Christ’s hometown, three boys are glued to the window of Bashir Handal’s gift shop, drooling over Chinese-made plastic toy tanks, assault rifles and combat helicopters. ‘This year’s favorites,’ says Handal.” – iafrica.com news.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The Union. His column appears every Tuesday.


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